Greetings from Canada Hockey Place, where the puck will drop at 3:15 p.m. (ET) for the Olympic gold-medal game between the States and Provinces.
The scene is wild downtown, where customers, most of them clad in Team Canada sweaters, began lining up in the predawn hours to get preferred seating at their favorite pubs.
By 9:30 a.m., when your faithful puck scribe headed to the arena, some lines at the pubs were over 150 deep.
Lots of street hockey games being played around the arena. One game, very near the media entrance, included two policemen trading checks and shots (of the puck variety).
Inside the arena, fans are feverishly snapping up the vastly overpriced Olympic T-shirts and ballcaps and the usual Five Ring souvenirs Speaking from experience, the stuff virtually disintegrates within weeks after the Games.
Of pucks and megabucks
Vendors of the 50-50 charity raffle, a common element of all levels of Canadian hockey, and becoming typical in the States, claim that today's winner will pocket upward of $50,000.
That's the ticket
According to an AP report this morning, ShowTimeTickets.com was offering a suite for $138,000 to today's historic match. With 20 seats in each suite, it works out to $6,900 per ticket.
Lots of talk on the street that individual seats were being scalped in the $8,000-$12,000 range.
Guardians at the door
No official word from either dressing room, but it's all but a guarantee that Team USA will go with Ryan Miller (Sabres) in net, with Boston's Tim Thomas the backup.
Look for Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo in Canada's cage and Martin Brodeur (Devils) as the backup.